We manufacture commercial appliances that require electrical hook-up and have 15 to 20 electrical components inside them. Our production staff wires up the electrical components. There are roughly 40 to 70 individual wires required in order to hook up the components in a typical product. We pre-make wiring harnesses but, in order to pre-make them; we must specify wires according to length. Determining wire length with some degree of accuracy prior to a prototype is hit-and-miss. Without the product assembled in front of you, it’s difficult the guess the lengths.
With SolidWorks, we can now build the product on the computer and place all the components where they belong in the assembly.
Our current method of establishing wire lengths is to invoke the measurement tool in Evaluate, start at the component tab of one connection and measure the distance to the other connection. We then take the x, y, and z components, and manually add them up for total length. This method, however, does not work well if the wire needs to be routed around an object or through a conduit, or bundled with other wires & routing. We can select intermediate points in the assembly to try to work around some objects but this is often awkward since we need an edge or something to point to. And now we are starting to put a fair amount of time into estimating wire lengths, to the point of where I believe “there must be a better way”! We are using Solidworks 2012 Standard version, so we do not have the wiring and piping features.
Is there any method in SWX Standard to make this a more convenient function? If not, what level of SWX do I need to make this operation easier. I need to consider the “value model” here, since we only design new products requiring this operation 2 or 3 times a year, compare that to the cost of our engineering time and cost of upgrading to SWX premium.